In the last 5 years, the e-learning sector has grown exponentially in Mainland China. University students, housewives, retirees, employees of small and large companies, and freelancers: millions of people nowadays turn to online courses to increase or refine their skills.

On the other side, there are teachers, professors, freelancers, or simply experts on particular topics and sectors who decide to make their knowledge available by putting them at the service of potential interested buyers. But creating and then selling online courses is a “mission” far from simple. The e-learning market has indeed become very competitive.

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In this blog post, we’ll the Chinese market for e-learning, market dynamics, major trends shaping the industry, and our predictions of the best strategies in the education market in China for the upcoming years.

China Online Education Market Overview

China’s online education industry is evolving rapidly. The push towards remote learning, especially due to COVID-19, has significantly boosted the demand for online courses. This change is also evident in the rise of personalized learning experiences, with many platforms now harnessing AI to tailor courses to individual needs. The Chinese online education market is expected to reach US $100 billion by 2026.

The global stats mirror this transformation. By 2025, the worldwide online education market could be worth a staggering $325 billion. The pandemic has undeniably fast-tracked this growth, with more students enrolling in online classes than ever before.

Looking ahead, China’s online education is poised for growth. This optimism stems from the rising demand for flexible learning and technological advancements. However, challenges like maintaining course quality and addressing tech accessibility gaps remain. Overall, the future of online education in China looks promising, with ample opportunities on the horizon.

COVID-19’s Push to Digital Learning

COVID-19 has amplified the importance of online education in China (as everywhere else to be frank). With many facing limited access to traditional classrooms, online education platforms quickly became essential, and online learning was adopted as a norm.

Today, even after COVID, many online learning platforms are still gaining more users interested in online courses, which has become a norm, especially in the field of new technologies or languages.

Recent Education Reforms

China’s online education landscape is also changing due to new education policies. The notable cutback in after-school tutoring means online platforms need to adjust their strategies. These reforms challenge online educators to adapt while still offering quality content in an ever-evolving environment.

Rise of Social Media Platforms in Education

China’s digital evolution has reshaped the educational domain. Platforms like Douyin, traditionally associated with entertainment, are now bustling with educational content. From quick tips to extensive lessons, these platforms are becoming a cornerstone of modern learning, reflecting the innovative ways the Chinese are adapting to online education.

China online education market: Douyin

Most Popular Types of Online Courses

Certain course categories have risen to prominence in China, standing out for their widespread appeal, relevance, and efficacy. Let’s delve into these popular sectors, exploring what makes them attractive and how they cater to a vast audience.

Language Learning Courses


As the global lingua franca, English holds immense value for both professional and personal reasons. Courses often range from beginner levels, focusing on basics like grammar and vocabulary, to advanced levels that delve into intricate aspects of the language, such as business English or academic writing.

With globalization in full swing, proficiency in English is seen as a valuable asset, propelling many Chinese students and professionals to enroll in online courses that offer flexibility and personalized learning pathways.


With China’s proximity and strong economic ties to Japan, Japanese courses have witnessed a surge in popularity. These courses often encompass foundational scripts like Hiragana and Katakana, advancing to more complex structures and Kanji characters. Many students also explore cultural modules that offer insights into Japanese society, etiquette, and traditions, giving a holistic language learning experience.

Skill-Based Courses

Digital Marketing

These courses cover a spectrum of topics, from search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to content marketing and social media strategies. With practical assignments and real-world case studies, students not only gain theoretical knowledge but also hands-on experience, preparing them for the dynamic world of digital marketing.

Graphic Design

The demand for visually appealing content, be it for websites, advertising, or social media, has boosted the popularity of graphic design courses. These classes often incorporate software tutorials for tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, complemented by modules on design principles, typography, and color theory.

Exam Preparation Courses

Exam preparation courses hold a special place in the online education sector of China. Catering to students aiming for both national exams and international qualifications, these courses offer curated content, practice tests, and strategic techniques to tackle examinations. Be it for higher education entrance tests, professional certifications, or language proficiency exams, these online modules ensure students are well-equipped, confident, and exam-ready.

Personal Development and Hobby-Related Courses

Online courses focusing on personal development and hobbies have become increasingly popular, offering individuals an avenue to explore passions outside of their professional lives. These courses cover a broad spectrum, from music and art to mindfulness and personal finance.

Not only do they equip learners with technical skills, but they also promote self-expression and creativity. Many incorporate interactive elements, allowing participants to share their work and connect with a community of enthusiasts. In essence, these courses serve a dual purpose: they offer personal enrichment and foster continuous growth and exploration.

Strategies for Effective Promotion of Online Courses

As the digital landscape becomes more saturated, it’s imperative for educators and platforms to employ strategic promotional efforts that resonate with potential students. This section delves into actionable strategies that can elevate the visibility of online courses, ensuring they don’t just exist in the vast digital space, but thrive and engage the right learners.

Create a Chinese website to promote your brand awareness

The Internet as we know it today is based on websites. If you want to be found on Baidu the first step is to create a web page in Chinese with a ch.domain. This will allow you to increase your reputation online and above all help your search engine marketing (SEM) strategy.

Baidu seo education
Baidu SEO results when we tape in”e-course”

In fact, search engines such as Baidu in China, constantly analyze the network looking for pages to create an index. As a result of this continuous research, every time someone searches for a specific online course on a search engine, this returns a list of the results that could be useful to the user; the greater the relevance of your site to your search, the higher your position in the Search Engine Result Page will be (SERP).

Start blogging – story-telling your brand

A fundamental strategy to emerge in online marketing and conquer today’s population is definitely to create a blog. Through the blog, you are not simply adding keywords to your site (which are still important to your Search Engine Optimization), but are creating value for your audience, be it Chinese consumers, but also higher education institutions, and the private education sector, which also uses such materials.

Chinese love to hear stories and be involved, so creating value for users is the absolute best marketing strategy. Sharing your experience, history, and knowledge with them can definitely be considered “creating value”.

Let users find you on Chinese platforms

One of the primary considerations for foreign brands is how they plan to sell their products through cross-border channels. One option is to do it alone, but there are advantages to working with an established, dedicated cross-border online platform, especially for brands new to China.

Taobao Tongxue landing page

The two biggest players are JD Worldwide and Tmall Global. Both are business-to-consumer (B2C) sites with slightly different models.

Alibaba itself in 2013 had launched one of its first online courses on Taobao Tongxue (tongxue means schoolmate in Chinese). Teachers, education organizations or agencies, or third-party online education services could set up Taobao stores to sell live broadcasts, recorded videos, offline courses or events, or courses on third-party sites.

In short, anyone is allowed to set up a store selling online education services or related physical goods such as offline event tickets.

Increase your online presence with social media

Today, social media is used as an extension of our online presence, as it allows us to communicate with our fans, potential customers, and partners. Once again, the secret lies in not using social media as an information channel, but as a means of interaction and exchange of value.

Chinese social media are different from Western ones, and those Chinese apps are great even for business.

Here is a list of the most used apps by the Chinese population, followed by their functions when it comes to business.

WeChat is increasingly used for work purposes. Over 57.2% of WeChat users (who were interviewed by Penguin Intelligence) said most of their new WeChat contacts are work-related. Over 80% of them have used WeChat for work-related matters, including meetings, transferring money, receiving/sending documents and liaising with colleagues.

WeChat for business

E-course wechat
E-courses on WeChat
  • WeChat Official Accounts: Set up a WeChat official account to connect with your target customers with engaging content and information to build customer loyalty.
  • E-commerce: You can set up an e-commerce store and integrate it with your WeChat official account to display your products or services and process payments.
  • Instant Messaging: Some small businesses don’t have an official WeChat account.  for small businesses, like for who run online courses, it’s essential to use instant messaging to communicate with their Chinese clients.
  • Advertising: Businesses can place adverts in WeChat moments, subscription account, and mini-programs.

Weibo – an open social network to reach more viewers

Weibo is a microblogging platform founded in 2009 by Sina. Weibo is well-known outside of China because of its similarity with Twitter. Since 2017, Weibo already has more monthly active users than Twitter.

In an attempt to regain its relevance, it integrated short video and live-streaming functions to boost user numbers. It also formed a strategic partnership with Alibaba to explore social commerce and marketing solutions, and to facilitate interaction between merchants on Alibaba’s platforms and Weibo users.

Now, the Weibo mini-program within WeChat has been launched to reach more Chinese netizens.

  • Set up a Weibo enterprise account to connect with your followers with engaging and interactive contents.
  • Download Page apps on Weibo’s platform to carry out marketing and promotion activities, payment processing, and ad campaigns.
  • Use banners on top of your Weibo page to redirect users to your official website or e-commerce partners.
  • Advertising: Social Display Ads to redirect users to an advertiser’s Weibo page, Promoted Feeds, Promoted Accounts, and Promoted Trends.

Xiaohongshu to boost your e-reputation

Learning apps
E-education ads on Xiaohongshu

In recent years, Xiaohongshu has become one of the largest social networks in China. It was just a content-generated community when it was created. But when its user’s database gets bigger and bigger, it has integrated e-commerce functions on this platform.

Xiaohongshu is very popular for SEM on beauty, fashion, jewelry. But as there are more and more users on this platform, many other sectors tend to do their marketing on this social network.

The users on the platform are very loyal. They come to this community to find suggestions and formers users’ experiences. To conclude, viewers on this platform have already made up their minds to take online courses, but they hesitate on which one to choose.

Douyin becomes the nr. 1 platform for educational content

Douyin, traditionally celebrated as China’s premier short-video platform, has metamorphosed into the leading hub for educational content. While initially known for entertainment and lifestyle videos, the platform’s vast and diverse user base has spurred a surge in knowledge-sharing clips and tutorials.

Educators, professionals, and hobbyists alike are leveraging Douyin’s dynamic format to break down complex topics into digestible snippets, making learning both engaging and accessible. The platform’s unique blend of visual storytelling and concise content delivery has proven exceptionally effective for educational purposes, resonating with audiences seeking quick insights and in-depth knowledge alike.

This shift not only highlights Douyin’s adaptability but also underscores the evolving nature of online learning, where unconventional platforms are emerging as prominent educational arenas.

Collaborate with Influencers and KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders)

The phenomenon of influencer marketing in China goes beyond mere endorsements; it’s about leveraging the trust and rapport these individuals have cultivated with their extensive follower base. By aligning with the right influencer or KOL tailored to a course’s niche, educators can tap into an already engaged audience, bridging the gap between course creators and potential students.

Identifying the right influencer is paramount. It’s not just about follower count, but about ensuring a genuine alignment of values, interests, and target demographics. For instance, a course on digital art would benefit immensely from a partnership with an influencer renowned for their artistic prowess and digital creativity.

Such collaborations not only provide courses with amplified visibility but also infuse them with credibility, given the endorsement from respected figures in the field. In essence, the synergy between online educators and KOLs can be a game-changer, driving enrollment and fostering trust among prospective students.

Why Choose Gentlemen Marketing Agency?

In the rapidly changing world of online education promotion, standing out requires more than just knowledge—it demands strategy, expertise, and a pulse on the latest trends. Here’s why partnering with Gentlemen Marketing Agency is your key to unlocking success:

  • Proven Track Record: Our collaboration with MEL Science, enhancing their branding and visibility on platforms like Douyin and Baidu, is a testament to our capabilities.
  • Platform Expertise: From Douyin to Baidu and beyond, we know where your audience is and how to reach them effectively.
  • Industry Knowledge: We don’t just market; we understand the intricacies of the education sector, ensuring your strategies are both innovative and relevant.
  • Adaptive Strategies: As the digital landscape evolves, so do our methods, ensuring you’re always ahead of the curve.
  • End-to-End Solutions: From branding to visibility and everything in between, consider all your marketing needs addressed.

Distinguish your online course in a saturated market. With our expertise and your passion, success is not just a possibility—it’s a guarantee.

Ready for a transformative journey? Contact Gentlemen Marketing Agency now and turn your vision into a resounding reality.

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